FLINT TWP. — Can the township afford to continue paying for dust-control treatments on dirt roads?
The question arose Monday night before the township board voted 6-0 to continue participating in the Genesee County Road Commission’s 2014 Dust Control service. Treasurer Marsha Binelli was absent.
Under the arrangement, the road commission pays for one application and the township must pay for the second and third application. The first application is scheduled for late April, the second for late June and the third for mid-September.
To participate in the program, the township must return an authorization form to the county by April 23.
The county quoted treatment application rated of $0.534 for a 38 percent calcium chloride solution at a spread rate of 2000 gallons per mile or $0.534 at 1500 gallons miles.
Trustee George Menoutes asked for a total cost to the township, which was not stated in the agreement.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said it would cost about the same as it did last year and money to pay for it has been budgeted from the road millage fund.
Pressed for a dollar amount, Clerk Kim Courts searched her computer and found last year’s cost was about $22,257 per application, which means the township will pay nearly $45,000 for the second and third treatment.
Trustee Frank Kasle said he was tempted to vote against it because it’s an example of expenses the township should be reconsidering in the face of a looming budget deficit.
“To say we have done it every year in the past, well if we keep doing all the things we have done in the past, the township will be broke,’’ he said. “We need to look at things like this to see if three applications are necessary.” He asked if it created a health hazard not to treat the roads.
Miller said that the township has approximately 20 miles of dirt roads. Residents who live on those roads ask for three treatments and probably would like having more, she said.
She said the township paying for only one application was discussed a few years ago but resident asked for two because the roads get dusty and bumpy. Menoutes commented that $45,000 is a good chunk of cash to be spending on road dust control.
Miller said she didn’t think the final bill has ever amounted to more than $40,000.
She added that she thought that the cost per mile provided a good return on investment.